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Wearables as a predictive, self-diagnostic COVID-19 tool

With top-down systems strained to offer pervasive COVID-19 testing, self-identification through wearable sensors can help with triaging.

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With the total market for wearables to top 350M devices by 2020, it means millions of people have a personal device (on their wrist right now) that can help triage country-wide testing, and gather data on the virus.

Government and healthcare systems are exacerbated by the unforeseen global demand for COVID-19 testing. As top-down systems are working overtime to provide broad testing, bottom-up self-diagnosing and triaging have the potential to relieve stress and create efficiencies. And as scientists learn more about the virus and its associated symptoms, the information can be fed to wearable manufacturers/retailers (e.g. Apple, FitBit). 

Wearables can then identify if the wearer has any COVID-19 related symptoms or if they need to go to a medical professional. At the same time, the population data can be fed to the scientific community to expedite the learnings on the virus. 

What is the need are you focusing on?

The gap that the solution addresses is widespread testing. Quoting Bill Gates, "we can't defeat an enemy if we don't know where it is." As governments and healthcare systems put plans in place on testing measures and protocols, there's an opportunity for innovations that allow people to self-test or self-triage. While wearables are not the same as a standard COVID-19 swab, it can help gather data, identify predictors of symptoms, and provide information to wearers to self-triage.

What is the best example of business adaption you’ve seen in response to COVID-19?

Stanford Medicine partners with Fitbit and other tech and academic partners on the effort, and is now looking for participants to help refine the diagnostic tool. The idea is that smartwatches or other wearable sensors may have the ability to detect symptoms that indicate a viral infection before a person notices it themselves, like higher skin temperature or elevated heart rate.

What is your profession?

Consultant, Strategy

Where are you located (country)?


Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

Which industry do you work in?

  • Business/Consulting


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